God’s earth is aching for peace. Domestic strife, interpersonal violence and abuse, civil conflict, ethnic and racial clashes, religious schism and interfaith rivalry, terrorist attacks, wars between nations, and threatened use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons—all of these prevent us from achieving God’s shalom. In response we who are disciples of Jesus Christ are called to be peacemakers for the transformation of the world.
The biblical foundation for peacemaking is the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus taught, “Happy are people who make peace” (Matthew 5:9), “Don’t react violently against the one who is evil” (Matthew 5:39, Scholars Version*), “Love your enemies and pray for those who harass you” (Matthew 5:44), and pray to forgive those who trespass against us (Matthew 6:12, 14-15). Paul echoed Jesus’ teaching when he instructed Christians in Rome, “Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good” (Romans 12:21; see also vv. 14-21). He told the church in Corinth that through Christ we have a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
For The United Methodist Church, peacemaking is an essential task for achieving success in other initiatives. Working with the poor to eliminate poverty, caring for children, and conducting global health initiatives can be most successful in stable and just societies free from armed conflict. To have sufficient resources for these tasks requires global peace and disarmament in order to redirect vast amounts of public funds now spent on armed forces and weaponry. Moreover, a strong concern for peace and justice is a necessary feature of vital congregations.
Therefore, the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church calls upon:
• United Methodist children, youth, and adults—as devoted disciples of Jesus Christ—to become peacemakers wherever they are—at home, school, work, in the local community and the wider world—and to show the love, compassion, and concern for justice that Jesus taught and lived;
• local congregations—as an expression of Wesleyan social holiness—to teach and practice peacemaking, to study underlying causes of conflict among social groups and nations, to seek positive remedies and become instruments of peace;
• annual conferences to undergird congregations through training, encouragement, and active support for peacemaking activities and to be voices for peace, justice, and reconciliation within the conference area and beyond; and
• bishops to encompass peacemaking in teaching what it means to live the United Methodist way, engage in conflict resolution where appropriate, and offer a prophetic voice for peace and justice.
The 2012 General Conference calls upon boards and agencies to incorporate peacemaking into their regular programs and budgets, including but not limited to the following:
• The General Board of Discipleship to develop, publish, and distribute Christian education material on the biblical basis of peace and justice and ways in which children, youth, and adults can be peacemakers and seekers of justice; and to publish devotional material for peacemakers.
• The General Board of Church and Society to serve as public policy advocate for actions that promote peace and oppose war, to provide resources on peacemaking to annual conferences and local congregations, and to facilitate training for nonviolence that applies Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.
• The General Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Women to both continue and augment peacemaking activities in their ministries in the United States and around the globe.
• The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to work with United Methodist seminaries and Africa University for encouragement of research, teaching, and publications on the theology of peace and methods of peacemaking and peace building with justice.
• United Methodist seminaries to teach the theology of peace to students, clergy, and laity and provide training for peacemaking.
• JUSTPEACE: Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation to promote a culture of just peace in the church and in the world and to provide training for peacemaking practitioners within annual conferences and local congregations.
• The Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships and the General Commissions on Religion and Race, the Status and Role of Women, and United Methodist Men to illuminate causes of injustice and inter-group tension, engage in advocacy for peace and justice, provide training for conflict resolution, and become instruments of peace.
• The Connectional Table to facilitate cooperation among United Methodist boards, agencies, conferences, and congregations on peacemaking endeavors.
* The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus. New Translation and Commentary by Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar [also known as the Scholars Version]; Robert W. Funk, et al. (New York: Macmillan, 1993).
AMENDED AND READOPTED 2012
RESOLUTION #6126, 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #6091, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
See Social Principles, ¶ 165C.
From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.